Watford’s unbeaten home record under Javi Gracia is over after Burnley claimed the fourth successive victory with a quick-fire second-half double to win 2-1.

The Hornets were the better side for two-thirds of the contest and deservedly led through a Roberto Pereyra goal. But Sean Dyche’s decision to bring on Sam Vokes proved the turning point as the home side were found wanting twice in quick succession by the Clarets’ physicality from set pieces.

Watford had grown into the game in the first half, with their attacking play growing in variety and fluency as the minutes elapsed.

They were unable to make what would have been a deserved breakthrough before the break, although Nick Pope was twice called upon to make fine saves from Pereyra, whose influence on games continues to grow in effectiveness and consistency.

The Hornets’ efforts were to be deservedly rewarded with an hour gone when Pereyra scored for the second game running after more good work from Will Hughes.

Watford looked set to go on and take the three points but the game was to change dramatically when Sean Dyche introduced Vokes to add to the physicality of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes up front.

Vokes was to be celebrating barely 30 seconds after coming on, left unmarked to equalise after Adrian Mariappa had been out-muscled at a free-kick.

And was to quickly follow as the Hornets were again over-powered and out-manoeuvred from a set-piece, with Jack Cork heading the Clarets in front despite the best efforts of Orestis Karnezis.

Despite the disappointment of seeing two points lost in injury-time against Bournemouth last weekend, Gracia kept faith with the same starting XI.

Burnley went into the game seeking a fourth successive victory and Dyche made just the one injury-enforced change with Kevin Long coming in for Ben Mee.

Following a superbly observed minute’s applause in memory of former Hornets first-team coach Ray Wilkins from both the Watford and Burnley fans, the hosts survived a big early scare inside the opening 80 seconds.

Watford were all at sea defensively as Matthew Lowton’s cross from the right picked out the unmarked Wood and he planted a header inside Karnezis’ right-hand post, only for the goal to be ruled out for a tight offside decision.

Both sides showed attacking intent in the early stages but the Clarets were to have the next clear opening in the eighth minute. Again it stemmed from a cross, this time from the left with Stephen Ward the provider for the in-form Barnes to send an effort narrowly over.

Watford’s first attempt was to come soon after, with Daryl Janmaat delivering form the right and Troy Deeney got across James Tarkowski to flick a downward header not too far wide of Pope’s right-hand post.

The Hornets went closer still in the 14th minute when Etienne Capoue spread a fine pass out to Janmaat on the right, he drove inside to find Hughes, who in turn fed Pereyra on the left and the former Juventus man came back inside before hitting a low drive which forced Pope into a good stop before the ball was cleared into touch.

From the resultant throw on the left, Pereyra was to see another shot deflected behind and his one-man mini onslaught on the Clarets goal continued with a strike from distance after Watford had worked the corner short, but this time Pope was not overly extended.

The home side’s forward play continued to be encouraging and eye-catching at times, the next occasion being when Kiko Femenia controlled the ball impressively on his head to get away from Ward and find Hughes, who played a superb defence-splitting pass to pick out the run of the Spaniard, but the ball was just too close to Pope.

However, Burnley were soon to be serving warning at the other end, with Aaron Lennon’s cut-back falling ideally for Ashley Westwood, whose shot would at the very least have troubled Karnezis had Mariappa not got his body in the way.

The majority of the game continued to be played in the Clarets half though, with the movement and variety of the Hornets’ front four continuing to cause problems.

This was again the case in the 34th minute when another fine pass from Capoue found Pereyra, who initially tried to open up a shooting opportunity on his right foot but ultimately went with his left, hitting a rising drive which forced Pope into another good save to tip the ball over.

From the first corner Watford won a second which led to Deeney having a shot which was cleared close to the goal line, although it may have been going wide anyway.

The pressure continued into the closing stages of the first half, with Pope forced to desperately punch the ball away after Westwood’s attempted clearing header from a Jose Holebas corner had threatened to drop inside the far post.

Watford had to settle for a going in at the break goalless, but a positive and inventive attacking display suggested they were more than capable of pushing on to win the game in the second half.

The Clarets had been disappointing by their standards for much of the first half, but they came out positively after the break, with Karnezis forced into an unorthodox block on the edge of his area to deal with a Westwood shot.

But the home side were soon back into their attacking rhythm, with Hughes setting up Janmaat, but his strike from the right side of the area was too close to Pope as he sought to cap his 50th Hornets appearance with a goal.

The Dutchman was to have another shot charged soon after before Watford were given a great opportunity to test Pope when Hughes was felled on the very edge of the 18-yard box, but Pereyra’s free-kick didn’t clear the wall.

With their next effort though, Watford were to deservedly take the lead.

Hughes was again instrumental, driving into the area from the right and although the Clarets got back to make a partial challenge, the ball broke to Pereyra, who calmly side-footed into the net for his fourth of the campaign.

Dyche made the game’s first change in the 70th minute as Vokes replaced Georges-Kevin N’Koudou. It was to prove an inspired change.

The Clarets were preparing to take a free-kick when the substitution was made; the ball was duly delivered into the box, Mariappa, who was to complain he was being pushed in the back by Barnes, back-headed it towards his own goal, and the unmarked Vokes prodded it past Karnezis to make it 1-1.

Watford had no time to clear their heads when Janmaat was penalised for a free-kick on the left edge of the area and the set piece was swung to the far post where Kevin Long headed back across goal and Jack Cork’s header looked to have been kept out by a wonderful save from Karnezis, but the Goal Decision Review system adjudged that it had crossed the line as the game was turned on its head in no time at all.

Gracia responded by bringing on Stefano Okaka for Janmaat, but Dyche then moved to stiffen up his midfield as Jeff Hendrick replaced Lennon.

Watford had a chance to get back on terms in the 83rd minute when Femenia’s cross from the right picked out the head of Okaka, but he glanced his effort wide of the far post.

Gracia played his final hand with five minutes of normal time remaining as Andre Carrillo and Richarlison replaced Abdoulaye Doucoure and Hughes respectively.

The next chance was to fall to the visitors though, with Karnezis forced into a blocking save at his near post to deny Wood, whose teammates then set about running down the five minutes of injury time as best they could.

Ultimately, the Hornets were given six-and-a-half minutes to try and get an equaliser, but although they piled on the pressure in the closing stages, the Clarets defence stood firm as a succession of balls into the box were successfully repelled.

Watford: Karnezis; Janmaat (Okaka 76), Prodl, Mariappa, Holebas; Doucuoure (Carrillo 85), Capoue; Femenia, Hughes (Richarlison 85), Pereyra; Deeney. Subs not used: Gomes, Britos, Cathcart, Gray.

Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward; Lennon (Hendrick 81), Cork, Westwood, N’koudou (Vokes 70); Barnes, Wood. Subs not used: Heaton, Taylor, Marney, Wells, Bardsley.

Bookings: N’Koudou for a foul on Femenia (33); Doucoure for a foul on N’Koudou (56); Lowton for time-wasting (90); Okaka for a foul on Cork (90).

Referee: Paul Tierney.